After building up its business in British Columbia, Fredericton-based ServUs Health is looking to expand on the West Coast and in its home market of New Brunswick.
The web-based company helps seniors and their carers find vetted service providers, whether they’re plumbers, electricians or physiotherapists – anyone who can help make life easier for the elderly living on their own.
Since October, the company has been working on a pilot project with a Victoria, B.C.-based seniors’ support agency to help the group’s clients find service providers.
“With time and mobility constraints, it’s very hard to complete daily activities and to find the right service provider,” said Founder and CEO Vikram Devaguptapu in an interview. “We are trying to fill that gap by offering a software app . . . to make sure [the service providers] are securely validated.”
Here’s the way ServUs works: The company signs an agreement with an organization or care facilitator that supports seniors who live on their own, possibly after being discharged from hospital. That organization pays ServUs a monthly subscription fee to use the platform for the benefit of its clients, who live in their own homes.
ServUs then sets out to locate service providers within the local community, building up a databank of people who can help the seniors living on their own. It vets each of these service providers to ensure they will provide a high quality of service for the seniors.
Seniors or the people checking up on them can use the ServUs platform to search for service providers when they are needed. They receive the assurance of knowing the service people have been vetted, and don’t have to spend hours looking for a reputable firm. The service providers also pay a monthly fee to ServUs.
The company signed its deal in Victoria in October and has been onboarding 200 service providers since then. It is now ready to roll out the service this month.
Devaguptapu got the idea for the business in 2016, when he was taking a Masters of Technology Management and Entrepreneurship, or TME, at University of New Brunswick. His own grandfather was getting on in years, and he worried about his care and need for various services.
He developed the idea as he got his master’s degree, then took the company through the university’s Energia Ventures accelerator. Dhirendra Shukla, Chair of the TME program, has been involved with the company and sits on its board of directors. The company has been bootstrapping so far, but plans to raise capital this year. It hopes to raise about $800,000 in dilutive and non-dilutive funds.
Devaguptapu and his two team-mates are now planning to expand the company, both on Vancouver Island and in New Brunswick. As well as working to secure organizations supporting seniors, ServUs has been talking to the New Brunswick government since January about using the company’s platform to help with the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccinations or helping people who have suffered from the virus.
“What the platform can offer is information and where to go for different age groups,” said Devaguptapu. “When people get out of the hospital, they can use the app to find the information they need to find the help they need.”